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Balgonie Castle with Curtain Walls, Boundary Walls, Gatepiers and Well

A Category A Listed Building in Markinch, Fife

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Coordinates

Latitude: 56.1939 / 56°11'37"N

Longitude: -3.1095 / 3°6'34"W

OS Eastings: 331250

OS Northings: 700692

OS Grid: NO312006

Mapcode National: GBR 2C.FPCX

Mapcode Global: WH6RH.6LK2

Entry Name: Balgonie Castle with Curtain Walls, Boundary Walls, Gatepiers and Well

Listing Date: 24 November 1972

Category: A

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 350450

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB16664

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Markinch

County: Fife

Electoral Ward: Glenrothes Central and Thornton

Traditional County: Fife

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Markinch

Description

Late 14th early 15th century courtyard castle. NE range probably 1496. Late 15th early 16th century, 2 storey and attic S section of E range (restored mid 17th century). 16th and 17th century additions include top floor of N range (between 1635 and 1641) and stair between tower and hall by John Mylne Junior, 1666. 3 storey N section of E range erected 1702 (incorporating earlier work), completed 1706 by linking N range and early 17th century SE block. Restoration commenced 1971, continuing (1995). Ashlar with cubical and squared rubble, stone quoins and margins. Eaves course and corbelled parapet; architraved doorcase, pointed arched, segmental arched and trefoil headed openings, voussoirs. NW TOWER HOUSE: 4 storey tower with crowstepped attic, vaulted at ground and 1st floor. S ELEVATION: arrow slit to right at ground, segmental headed narrow window to outer left at 1st floor and windows to left of centre at 3rd and 4th floors; corbelled parapet with 5 large ornamental spouts and open bartizans. Later, 3 storey, crowstepped stair tower to right with small window to left at ground and window to right (altered from door), 2 windows at 1st floor, and 2 further windows at 2nd floor above small, centrally positioned painted tablet/blocked opening(?). N ELEVATION: trefoil headed windows to right and left of centre at 1st floor; 2 small openings on turnpike stair between floors to outer left; corbelled garderobe to right of centre and window to left at 3rd and 4th floors; corbelled parapet with 3 large spouts, projecting, circular open bartizaRn to right and small cap house to left. Projecting stair tower to left with 2 windows. E ELEVATION: timber door to right of stair tower at ground in roll moulded doorcase below large, blinded, segmental headed opening; N range abutting to right; window at recessed 4th floor centre over sloping roof of stair tower with corbelled parapet with 3 large spouts, cap house to right and bartizan as above; crowstepped gablehead with stack behind parapet. W ELEVATION: all elements close to centre. Arrow slit close to ground and small glazed opening above at ground floor, 1st floor with small trefoil headed window and further windows to each floor above; corbelled parapet with 3 long spouts and flanking open bartizans; crowstepped gablehead with stack behind parapet. N RANGE: roofless, adjoining tower house to W. S ELEVATION: vaulted ground floor with low door to right of centre leading to Chapel; further door, leading to former kitchen, and window (altered from door) to left (both basket arched), small window to outer left; 1st floor with 2 enlarged windows to right of centre, window to left and small round headed window to outer left; additional storey above derelict but with evidence of wallhead stacks and stepped, moulded eaves course incorporated into bases of dormer windows. N ELEVATION: ground floor with blocked door to outer right close to advanced wall of stair tower, window to left. 4 large openings at 1st floor. E RANGE: complete to wallhead, gables with stacks remain. W ELEVATION: 2 storey block to right abutting curtain wall at outer right; door to left of centre with windows in flanking bays, 4 irregular window openings at 1st floor. 3 storey, 4 bay block to left abutting N range at outer left; door to right with 2 windows to left and blinded door to outer left, regular bays above at both floors (smaller openings at 2nd floor). E ELEVATION: 2 storey block with small opening at ground left and 3 irregular windows at 1st floor. 3 storey block to left with 3 windows to ground and 1st floor and small window to left between floors; 4 windows at 2nd floor. W ELEVATION (CURTAIN WALL): gatehouse to outer right (derelict above ground) with 2 leaf timber gate in segmental headed entrance with projecting, vaulted round tower (guardroom) and 15th century prison to left, further guardroom to right. Pedestrian gate in segmental headed opening to left of centre, wall (partially derelict) adjoining tower to outer left. Courtyard elevation of gatehouse with wide segmental headed opening flanked by timber doors. S ELEVATION (CURTAIN WALL): wide segmental headed gateway to right of centre below large blinded opening, also segmental headed. Crowstepped gable of SE range, with blocked window to left in gablehead, to outer right. INTERIOR: vaulted Chapel and workshops with large fireplace to W in N range. Timber scale and platt stair in stair tower. Tower house with large room to each floor; vaulted ground floor originally accessed by ladder from 1st floor. 1st floor was Great Hall originally entered through N door approximately 4m above ground with moveable timber forestair; cusped windows, window seats, no fireplace but 2 small ventilation shafts. Turnpike stair in NE angle to upper floors. 2nd floor, Lairds hall, with large fireplace. 3rd floor also with fireplace to N with fragmentary armorial panel in plaster dating from 17th century. BOUNDARY WALLS, GATEPIERS AND WELL: coped rubble boundary walls and pyramidal coped gatepiers. Squared rubble wellhead and circle of stone sets.

Statement of Interest

Built on site with steep drop to N and double moat to remaining sides. Owned by the Sibbald family until end of 15th century, when, due to lack of male heirs, the estate passed by marriage to Robert de Lundin, or Lundie, Lord High Treasurer of Scotland who carried out extensions in 1496. Some of the 16th and 17th century changes, including range at SE corner, remodelling and raising N range, and rebuilding N end of E range, were made for Sir Alexander (Crookback) Leslie (created Earl of Leven 1641) who purchased the castle in 1635 and died here in 1661. E range by 3rd Earl of Leven complete by 1706, linking N range with early 17th century SE range. David Lord Balgonie installed sash windows in 1755. The Castle was inhabited by 8 Earls of Leven until sold in 1824 to Sir James Balfour of Whittingham; no longer inhabited it was in poor condition by 1840. MacGibbon and Ross say of it, "Balgonie has been a fine residence and has not long been abandoned. The keep in particular is one of the best of its class in Scotland". The tower was partly restored by Cunningham, Jack, Fisher and Purdom for David Maxwell who purchased the Castle in 1971, selling it in 1985 to the present Laird, Raymond Morris of Balgonie and Eddergoll; restoration continues (1995).

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